The Dynamics of 
Climate Change           Dennis Meadows Presentation to Mendeleev University           Moscow, Russia    ...
Land Temperatures in
         Russia – August 2010Moscow                                 2
The Globe is Becoming WarmerThe head of the state weather service, Alexander Frolov, said that the heat wave of 2010 was t...
Exercise on Dynamics                       4
Outline of My Remarks• Facts about climate change.• Simple thought exercise on dynamics of flows and  stocks.• My theory o...
Some Influences on Heat Balance• Changes in the intensity of the sun• Changes in natural absorption and  reflectivity (vol...
CO2 Concentration                    1972                           7
Facts about Atmospheric CO2• Two sources of data:  – Mauna Loa, HI observatory (50 years)  – Ice core data (several thousa...
Current level400,000             200,000                                   0          Years before today (0 = 1950)       ...
Climate Change is More Than             Global Warming:• Changes in precipitation area and intensity of fluctua-  tions (m...
Precipitation is Becoming More Extreme• Worldwide, 2010 and 2011 were the wettest years  over land in recorded history.• I...
12
Simple Thought Exercise                          13
Bath Tub Dynamics             In                    Level       Out                            14
Bath Tub Dynamics              In        10                            Levelt=oLevel         0              Out           ...
Behavior of the WaterLevelt=0 = 8, In = 0, Out = 010 0     0                 Time      50                                 ...
Behavior of the WaterLevelt=0 = 8, In = 0, Out = 010 0     0                 Time      50                                 ...
Bath Tub Dynamics              In        10                            Levelt=0Level         0              Out           ...
Behavior of the WaterLevelt=o = 8, In = 0, Outt = Levelt /1010 0     0                  Time              50              ...
Behavior of the Water10 0     0             Time   30     50                                      20
Bath Tub Dynamics              In        10                            Levelt=0Level         0              Out           ...
Behavior of the Water• Levelt=0 = 0, Outt = Level / 10, Int = (graph)41           In0    0        10                      ...
Computer Model of the Bath Tub     In               Outt = Levelt /10           Level                           =10       ...
Behavior of the Water            Outt = Levelt / 104              Level       In             Out0                         ...
Main Lessons From Bathtub Dynamics• The level will continue to increase for an extended  period even after the input start...
Computer Model of Three Bathtubs in             Series           Acceptable L3 = 5Normal                 ALT1 = 10     ALT...
Dynamics of the Three-Tub System   In           Acceptable             L3 = 5                              27
Dynamics of the Three-Tub System            Delay = 50                          Maximum                           L3 = 35 ...
My Model of the Climate System                                 29
The Evolution of Climate             Criticisms• Climate is not changing.• Climate is changing, but we are not the cause.•...
Use all possible policies                            31
Four Factors Determine the      Amount of CO2 Emissions© Dennis Meadows; 2007                                   32
Stop using discounted cash
 flows to make decisions                              33
The Stern Review recommended urgent,immediate, and sharp reductions ingreenhouse-gas emissions. These findingsdiffer marke...
Relying on Present 
        Net Value to Choose Assumes:• All consequences of an action are known• All consequences can be...
Increase the planning time
horizon of the government                              36
Easy Problems                                     Action #1                                                  DesiredBetter...
Difficult Problems                               Action #1                                              Action #2         ...
Prevent ecological processes
   from taking control of 
 greenhouse gas emissions.                                39
The Climate Change System                            40
Potential Sources of Non-LinearityPositive Feedback Loops• Ice cover -> heat reflection• Tundra melt -> methane release• W...
Artic Ice Cover                  42
Ice Cover Feedback Loop             +                  Heat Reflected                  From Earth Ice Cover               ...
44
Exercise on Action                     45
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Mendeleev

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Mendeleev

  1. 1. The Dynamics of 
Climate Change Dennis Meadows Presentation to Mendeleev University Moscow, Russia 16 April, 2012 1
  2. 2. Land Temperatures in
 Russia – August 2010Moscow 2
  3. 3. The Globe is Becoming WarmerThe head of the state weather service, Alexander Frolov, said that the heat wave of 2010 was the worst in 1,000 years of recorded Russian history.Since the 1970s, each subsequent decade has gotten hotter – and 9 of the 10 hottest years on record occurred since 2000. 1880 1880 2020 3
  4. 4. Exercise on Dynamics 4
  5. 5. Outline of My Remarks• Facts about climate change.• Simple thought exercise on dynamics of flows and stocks.• My theory of connection between CO2 emissions and damage from climate change.• Summary of the evolution of climate critics.• Somepositive feedback loops that may counteract our efforts to control greenhouse gas emissions.• Some changes required in policy if we wish to slow down the rise in CO2. 5
  6. 6. Some Influences on Heat Balance• Changes in the intensity of the sun• Changes in natural absorption and reflectivity (volcanic aerosols, cloud cover)• Changes in reflection (ice cover, tree cover)• Changes in composition of the atmosphere 6
  7. 7. CO2 Concentration 1972 7
  8. 8. Facts about Atmospheric CO2• Two sources of data: – Mauna Loa, HI observatory (50 years) – Ice core data (several thousand years)• CO2 from fossil fuels is unique, so it is clear the increase comes from combustion.• 40% remains in the atmosphere; the rest goes equally into plants and the sea.• CO2 concentration is now 30% – 40% greater than preindustrial levels and it is expected to double or triple by 2100. 8
  9. 9. Current level400,000 200,000 0 Years before today (0 = 1950) 9
  10. 10. Climate Change is More Than Global Warming:• Changes in precipitation area and intensity of fluctua- tions (more floods, more droughts, bigger deserts)• Shifting ecological and cultivation zones• Growing acidity in the ocean• Greater instability in winds• Migration of pests, diseases, pollinators• Rising sea level• Melting of permafrost• Migration of people and industry 10
  11. 11. Precipitation is Becoming More Extreme• Worldwide, 2010 and 2011 were the wettest years over land in recorded history.• In the United States 7 states had their wettest year in history in 2011; several others had their driest year in recorded history. • Artic ice fell to its lowest volume in history in 2011. • Western El Salvador, received nearly 1.5 meters of rain in 10 days. 11
  12. 12. 12
  13. 13. Simple Thought Exercise 13
  14. 14. Bath Tub Dynamics In Level Out 14
  15. 15. Bath Tub Dynamics In 10 Levelt=oLevel 0 Out 15
  16. 16. Behavior of the WaterLevelt=0 = 8, In = 0, Out = 010 0 0 Time 50 16
  17. 17. Behavior of the WaterLevelt=0 = 8, In = 0, Out = 010 0 0 Time 50 17
  18. 18. Bath Tub Dynamics In 10 Levelt=0Level 0 Out 18
  19. 19. Behavior of the WaterLevelt=o = 8, In = 0, Outt = Levelt /1010 0 0 Time 50 19
  20. 20. Behavior of the Water10 0 0 Time 30 50 20
  21. 21. Bath Tub Dynamics In 10 Levelt=0Level 0 Out 21
  22. 22. Behavior of the Water• Levelt=0 = 0, Outt = Level / 10, Int = (graph)41 In0 0 10 50 Time 22
  23. 23. Computer Model of the Bath Tub In Outt = Levelt /10 Level =10 23
  24. 24. Behavior of the Water Outt = Levelt / 104 Level In Out0 24
  25. 25. Main Lessons From Bathtub Dynamics• The level will continue to increase for an extended period even after the input starts to decline. • Even after you take the input to zero, the level takes a very long time to disappear 25
  26. 26. Computer Model of Three Bathtubs in Series Acceptable L3 = 5Normal ALT1 = 10 ALT2 = 10In = 0.2 26
  27. 27. Dynamics of the Three-Tub System In Acceptable L3 = 5 27
  28. 28. Dynamics of the Three-Tub System Delay = 50 Maximum L3 = 35 In Acceptable L3 = 5 28
  29. 29. My Model of the Climate System 29
  30. 30. The Evolution of Climate Criticisms• Climate is not changing.• Climate is changing, but we are not the cause.• We are causing climate change, but it is late to stop it. 30
  31. 31. Use all possible policies 31
  32. 32. Four Factors Determine the Amount of CO2 Emissions© Dennis Meadows; 2007 32
  33. 33. Stop using discounted cash
 flows to make decisions 33
  34. 34. The Stern Review recommended urgent,immediate, and sharp reductions ingreenhouse-gas emissions. These findingsdiffer markedly from economic models thatcalculate least-cost emissions paths tostabilize concentrations or paths thatbalance the costs and benefits of emissionsreductions. I find that the difference stems almost entirelyfrom its technique for calculating discounts. - William Nordhaus in Science July 25, 2007 34
  35. 35. Relying on Present 
 Net Value to Choose Assumes:• All consequences of an action are known• All consequences can be expressed in monetary units; they are commensurate• We are the ones entitled to pick the interest rate• Maximizing financial benefits is the goal of society• Current mistakes can be corrected by paying some cost in the futureEvery single one of these assumptions is false for the issue of climate change!! 35
  36. 36. Increase the planning time
horizon of the government 36
  37. 37. Easy Problems Action #1 DesiredBetter -------> Actual Action #2 Now Future Next Evaluation 37
  38. 38. Difficult Problems Action #1 Action #2 DesiredBetter -------> Actual Now Future Next Evaluation 38
  39. 39. Prevent ecological processes
 from taking control of 
 greenhouse gas emissions. 39
  40. 40. The Climate Change System 40
  41. 41. Potential Sources of Non-LinearityPositive Feedback Loops• Ice cover -> heat reflection• Tundra melt -> methane release• Water vapour -> heat capture• Temperature -> forest growth -> CO2 capture• Sea temperature -> methane hydrate meltSaturation• Loss of ocean capacity to buffer CO2 in airCataclysm• Massive fresh water release into the gulf stream 41
  42. 42. Artic Ice Cover 42
  43. 43. Ice Cover Feedback Loop + Heat Reflected From Earth Ice Cover + Temperature Of the Air Melting Of Ice + 43
  44. 44. 44
  45. 45. Exercise on Action 45

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